BORDElN. I would like to ask the government whether all the measures in the shape of legislation which are to be brought down this session are before the House, and if not, what other measures, if any, the government propose to bring down?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
I think there are perhaps one or two minor measures to be brought down, and we propose an amendment to the election law, which will be brought down at a very early day, and perhaps another measure, the tenor of which I will give my hou. friend later on.
WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Mr. Fielding : That the Speaker do now leave the chair, for the House to go into committee to consider of the ways and means for raising the supply to he granted to His Majesty.
Mr. ROBT. HOLMES (West Huron).
In resuming. Mr. Speaker, the debate on the fiscal policy of the government, I wish to state at the outset that in my opinion the budget is one of which the hon. the Finance Minister has every reason to be proud. It is one which, I believe, the country will cordially and heartily endorse, and on which the Liberal party lias reason to congratulate itself and the country. It is a budget that will bring to every patriotic Canadian a sense of pleasure and gratification, a
feeling of confidence and hopefulness for the future and the assurance that the affairs of this Dominion are in good hands and will continue to be managed in the best interests of the people. I. well remember a prophecy made on the accession of the Liberal party to power by one who proved himself a false prophet, that the Liberal party would not be able to govern the country more than six months. Our record, Sir, of the eight past years flatly contradicts that prediction, and shows that the affairs-of this country have been well managed and are perfectly safe in the hands of the Liberal party.
The hon. member for South Simcoe ('Mr. Lennox), in the course of his remarks, said be would not discuss the budget at length, because there was nothing in it. Well, Mr. Speaker, I would ask is it nothing that the Finance Minister was able last year to announce a surplus of over $14,000,000 ? Is it nothing that he is able to estimate this year a surplus of $10,500,000, the largest in the history of the Dominion ? Is it nothing that the Finance Minister has been able to announce substantial surpluses seven years in succession, and that the total of these amounts to over $57,000,000? Is it a fact not worth mentioning that we have been able to deepen our canals, enlarge and improve our harbours, extend the Intercolonial, erect the necessary public buildings in various parts of the Dominion, and carry on the general affairs of the country without adding one cent 'to our taxation ? Is it nothing that the Finance Minister has been able to announce a reduction of over $1,000,000 in the public debt this year below what it was when the Liberal party took office ? Is it nothing to be able to prove that while the Conservatives added an average of $6,500,000 to the debt every year for the eighteen years they were in office, the Liberals have not added one single cent ? Is it nothing that the per capita debt to-day is only $46 f.s compared with $50 in 1896 ? Is it a fact not worth noting that our commercial prosperity to-day is not only greater than it ever has been in our history, but exceeds that of any other country in the world ? Is it a matter of no consequence that our imports are $241,000,000 to-day as against less than $120,000,000 eight years ago, and that our exports are nearly $230,000,000 as against $121,000,000 eight years ago ? Is it nothing that our total trade, which is the barometer of a country's prosperity, amounts to $467,000,000 to-day as compared with $224,000,000 in 1896, being an increase of $243,000,000, and that our increase alone is $19,000,000 ever the total trade of 1896 ? Is it nothing that our export trade with the mother country is $63,000,000 more than it was eight years ago, and that our total trade with the mother country is $88,000,000 more than it was in 1896, and that, in fact, our increase is as large as our entire trade with that country was in 1895 ? Are we to be told that it is really of no account whatever that Mr. HOLMES.
cur railway tonnage should be 23,000,000 more than it was eight years ago and that our business failures are $8,000,000 less in value than they were eight years ago, and much less than at any time during the last twenty-one years ? Is it nothing that the deposits in our chartered banks to-day are $196,000,000 more than they were in 1896. the increase alone being greater than the total deposits in that year ? Is it nothing that the deposits in our savings banks amount to $21,000,000 more than they did in 1896 V Yet in the face of all these incontrovertible evidences of marvellous and unequalled prosperity of this wisely and well governed Dominion, there are some members who have the audacity to say of the best budget ever brought down, ' there is nothing in it.'
My hon. friend from South Wentworth (Mr. E. D. Smith), who preceded me in this debate, endeavoured to belittle the administration of my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) in so far as the hon. minister had endeavoured to do something for the farmers. The hon. gentleman, in an interesting speech from the standpoint of a fruit exporter, dealt with the question of cold storage and its effect on the transport of apples and other perishable fruits. With that question I do not purpose dealing, because I think there are others in this House who are more competent to discuss it, but I would make a brief reference to the course which the1 hon. Minister of Agriculture took with regard to the quarantine. The hon. member for South Wentworth endeavoured to belittle what the hon. minister did, and in order to give point to his arguments he sought to convey the idea that because our exports of cattle to the United States last year were smaller than in other years, therefore the Minister of Agriculture had accomplished nothing in the interests of the farmers. But he omitted to tell this House that in the four and a half years which preceded the removal of the quarantine-the removal of which was brought about, as everybody knows, through the efforts of the Minister of Agriculture-we only sent to the United States 3,672 head of cattle, or an average of a little over 700 head, and that in the succeeding four years, after the removal of the quarantine, we sent an average of 87,343, or a total value of $5,329,000. Nor did he inform the House that prior to the removal of the quarantine our farmers had on hand a large number of Stockers, which were of comparatively small value, and for which they had no market at the time ; and while I would agree with him that it would be wise for our farmers to feed all their cattle possible on their own farms, it is my firm conviction that the price of the stockers has increased by virtue of the removal of the quarantine, as our farmers now enjoy the benefit of an increased market, and there is no demand in the United States for stockers which there was a short time ago.
He also dealt with the question of an increase in the duty on market-garden products. He was very earnest in his advocacy of the claims of the market-gardener, hut as that question has been dealt with recently from this side of the House, I do not propose to weary the House by entering into it again. I would only call attention to the fact that my hon. friend, who is an exporter of fruit, makes as much use of the American market as is possible under present circumstances, and I do not think he would like to toe thrown out of that market, to which market-gardeners from the Niagara section have convenient access. And he also endeavoured to convince us that it would be the part of wisdom for the government to increase the tariff so far as small fruits are concerned. He laid special stress upon the fact that California fruit was preferred in the west and more especially in Winnipeg, over Canadian fruits. But he did not tell this House, as he might have done, that one reason for this is that the Canadian packers do not take quite the same interest, I am sorry to say, in placing their fruit properly on the market that the California Fruit Agency does. It is a well known fact, and I am not impugning the Canadian packer. But those who have made inquiries for fruit sent out by the California fruit agency know that that fruit can be depended upon to be exactly what it is represented. And, by this means, the California people have established themselves in the western market while our Canadian packers have not met the conditions by proper care with reference to packages and the putting up of the fruit. Now, let me call attention to the duties that are now charged upon some of these articles. The duty on peaches coming into Canada is ouet cent a pound. The duty on plums is 25 per cent. The hon. gentleman (Mr. E. D. Smith) instanced plums in particular. The Canadian plum is admitted to be superior in flavour to the American1 plum, but they cannot be transported with the same degree of ease, and that is one reason why they do not get the preference in the market. The duty on tomatoes is 20 cents per bushel, and 10 per cent ad valorem. The duty on grapes is 2 cents per pound. Now, I am not a consumer of grapes to any great extent, but I think I know something of the conditions of the market. I believe I am not underestimating the value when I say that, in certain seasons of the year and in certain sections of the province of Ontario, grapes are sold as low as 2 cents per pound. At- those seasons, the duty represents 100 per cent. It seems to me that, on some lines of fruit, the duty is large enough. On blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and currants, the duty is 2 cents per pound. Cranberries, plums and quinces, 25 per cent. Prunes, including raisins, dried currants and California or silver prunes, 1 cent per pound. The hon. gentleman (Mr. E. D. Smith) laid great stress upon the opinion that we ought to look after the producers, and said that if we looked after the producer the consumer would be able to look after himself. Well, I think there are times when it is right to look after the producer, but there are certainly times when it is the duty of the government to look after the consumer as well. The consumer has interests that deserve consideration as well as those of the producer. I do not know but that sometimes the hon. gentleman's expression could be reversed and that, with regard to some things in Canada, if we look after the consumer the producer is able to look after himself. The producer is less important, certainly so far as numbers are concerned. It is the duty of the government to look after the consumer as well as the producer.
Then, the hon. gentleman from South Wentworth dwelt at length on the argument that we ought to protect the farmers.
I think the time has come, so far as the general principle is concerned, when we ought to cease statements of that kind in this House. I think almost everybody will admit that, so far as protection to the farmers is concerned, we can do comparatively little. We may do something but, generally speaking we cannot protect the farmer. And I think the House knows that perfectly well, and that the members of tha opposition know it as well as we do, and,
I think, in private conversation they would be prepared to admit it. But, in connection with their argument in favour of protection to all classes they feel it necessary to advocate protection to the farmer though they know that it cannot be carried out to its logical conclusion.
Now, one of the important features of the budget is the reduction of the duty on coal oil. I do not profess to be an oil man or to know much of the oil trade, beyond what I have read in the newspapers and gathered from conversation. I am free to admit that the newspapers are not always reliable. Sometimes, their statements are hardly in accordance with the facts. For instance, I read in the Hamilton ' Spectator ' the following*;
The reduction in the duty on coal oil amounts to exactly nothing. The Standard Oil Company may want It for its own purposes ; but the people of Canada will benefit not a cent from it.
Then, in the Ottawa ' Free Press,' the day after the change was made in the coal oil duties I find this advertisement;
TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
We have reduced our prices on all grades of refined oil, benzine and gasoline 2J cents per gallon in consequence of a reduction of the same amount made in the tariff. The Queen City Oil Company, Limited.
I also read in interviews the opinions of producers who are, apparently, in sympathy with a reduction of the duties. The Toronto ' News,' no matter what may be the personal opinion of the editor, is not a paper that is regarded as especially friendly to the Liberal party. It is well known that the proprietor is a Conservative, and therefore, we must count the paper as an ^independent paper with Conservative leanings. Speaking of the oil duties, it says : The immediate changes are regarded as undoubtedly a step in the right direction. The reduction of duty on refined oil is excusable by the fact that Canadian oil wells and refineries are not able to produce sufficient oil to^ supply the market, while the placing of fuel oil for manufacturing purposes on the free list will be of the greatest assistance to manufacturing interests. The needs of the oil refiners are met by cutting the duty in two, while the domestic producer is rewarded with a bounty. The price of oil to the consumer should fall at once.
Gall, of the Gall, Schneider Company, makes this statement:
Every consumer of coal oil in Canada will now be able to get oil at least 2J cents cheaper per gallon, and a further reduction may be possible as soon as the question of the bounty adjusts itself.
Mr. Fairbank, who is spoken of as one of the largest oil producers in the Petrolia section, is quoted thus :
J. H. Fairbank said he thought it a wise piece of legislatiou on the part of the' government, and that from the information at hand the crude producers would not materially suffer.
The argument has been advanced that the effect of the reduction in the duty on oil will be to endanger the oil business in Lambton and other counties in western Ontario. I do not suppose that any one will call in question the party fealty of the Petrolea correspondent of the Toronto ' Mail and Empire.' I assume that this correspondent Is a Conservative and voices the sentiments of his political friends. Speaking of the reduction of the duty on coal oil this correspondent, as will be seen in the ' Mail and Empire ' of June 9th makes the following statement :
The fact that the government had announced a bounty of 1J cents per gallon on all crude oil produced from this date did not at first strike the minds of the inhabitants, and it was felt that the town had received a blow which it would take years to recover from. This morning, however, it was realized that while the situation is not to the liking of the inhabitants, it is not as bad as It might be. The price of crude oil yesterday morning was reduced from $2.09 per barrel to $2.06, and this 'morning a further drop was announced to $1.65 per barrel, but this later figure is supplemented by the bounty of 521 cents to be paid by the government, making the price now $2.17J per barrel.
If the producer had any guarantee of the length of time the government would keep the bounty Mr. HOLMES.
in force, he would feel much easier in his mind Leading producers are all rather chary at the present time of expressing an opinion, but whatever the outcome, the people of the town will not be knocked out by the blow, but will go ahead and develop oil territory wherever they can get it, and will try and make the production reach the present and future wants of the people.
So, on that point at any rate, this correspondent who I presume is a Conservative, [DOT]speaks rather favourably, if we read between the lines.
I have here one or two other expressions of opinion from producers about Petrolia similar to those of Mr. Fairbank. It is not necessary to quote them in full, but I may merely say that they show that these producers are satisfied with the reduction both on crude and on refined.
Now, I wish to quote from a Liberal paper, but only as to what I take to be a statement of fact as to the opinion in the west. The Winnipeg ' Free Press ' says :
One of the tariff changes that will be most popular in the west is the cut in the coal oil duty. When the Liberals came into power they found this duty six 'cents a gallon. In their first revision they cut it to five cents per gallon and this has now been reduced to two and a half cents. The record gives ground for hoping that ultimately the whole duty will go and coal oil
will be free The new duty came into
effect on Wednesday. To-day the wholesale price of oil is 2J cents per gallon less than It was on Wednesday. The whole benefit of the reduction will be enjoyed by the consumer.
In another item the Winnipeg ' Free Press ' has the following :
Immediately upon receipt of the information the Imperial Oil Company notified all its agents to put the selling price 2J cents a gallon less than it has been ; and the reduced rates went into immediate effect. The reduction applies to all grades of illuminating oils and naphtha. On the stocks already in hand, imported under the old duty, the company will lose by the reduction, but large shipments are coming in under the new rate.
The reduction will be greatly appreciated throughout the west, where the high price of coal oil has for years been a grievance.
While there are some who take a view the .very reverse of that which I hold, and who believe that the oil industry has received a blow from which it cannot recover, I believe I am divulging no secret when I say that hon. gentlemen In this House who have received letters and telegrams approving the change in the oil duties and congratulating the Liberal party upon it. find that those messages come signed by Conservatives as well as by Liberals.
It is not my purpose to deal at any very great length with the tariff. We on this side are charged with inconsistency because we do not follow out the radical ideas we held at one time. But it has been well said that the man who never changes his
views is likely to hold views that are very much in need of changing. In a practical world we must govern ourselves to some extent by the conditions as we find them. We may not be prepared to go as far as hon. gentlemen opposite are, but we are prepared to recognize the changes in conditions, and, in a practical way, to modify our policy to meet the circumstances of the country as they actually exist.
With the general tariff changes, I have no fault to find. If the argument advanced by our friends opposite is a good argument that with increased duties, competition among the manufacturers will keep down prices of manufactured articles there is no reason to fear increased prices as far as woollens and other manufactured articles are concerned. If the manufacturers do not enter into combines I believe the people will derive benefit ip connection therewith. I am not one of those who believe in the spirit of retaliation. I do not believe in erecting a tariff wall against our American friends simply because they have a tariff against us. Being contiguous to the United States we must trade with them and the best policy we can pursue is one of maintaining amicable relations as far as it is possible to -do so. I admit that I do not like the) spirit manifested by our American friends. I do not like the spirit of tariff hostility that they have frequently displayed towards us, but I do not know that it would be wise to raise our tariff as high as theirs, although in the nature of things there may be and I dare say there will be a general revision of the tariff which will perhaps place us in a more equitable position than that which we occupy at the present time. It seems to me that the government have dealt with a serious situation in so far as the dumping clause is concerned. How that will work out and how it may prove by experience, I am not prepared to say. I anticipate that it will prove to be an obstacle greater than anything we have at the present time in the way of the undue and unfair slaughtering of goods which has been carried on by our American friends. But. I would like to see our own Canadian people manifesting a greater spirit of selfdependence than we have displayed up to the present time. I think, that, with our national resources and with our circumstances as favourable as they are, we should endeavour by self-assertion and independence to control our own markets without depending so much on paternal assistance or aid.
There are one or two points not specially dealt with in connection with the tariff that I want to allude to. They are perhaps the outcome of our system. Reference was made the other evening to the question of immigration. ' One of the speakers on the other side of the House with a swing
of his arm and a good deal of force in his manner said that he did not think we ought to encourage immigrants to come here from the slums of Europe. I agree with him entirely but I think we have very little reason to find fault, as far as the immigrants which we are receiving are concerned. It is well known, and if it is not well, known it ought to be, that the government make no special arrangement as far as immigrants are concerned except to look after immigrants and do what they can to secure them by legitimate means. No assistance is offered to immigrants and as far as undesirable immigrants are concerned I do not think we have a great deal to fear ip that respect. I well remember that when the Mennonites came into the Northwest Territories as settlers some of our friends of the opposition offered very strong objections against them. They were said to be an undesirable class. It was saidi that they ditfered from our own people in their habits of life, and in their religion. It was said that they had certain peculiarities which our people did not approve of. But I believe that our hon. friends on the other side of the House will now admit that the Mennonites are among the best settlers we have in the Northwest. The Mennonite settlers are the wealthiest in that western country. Objection has been taken to the Doukliobors and Galicians on the score that they are undesirable settlers. I am quite free to say that the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) is himself a convert to the view that the Galicians are a desirable class of settlers. I do not know that he has ever taken exception to them but' there have been hon. members on the other side of the House who seemed, fo think that it was not advisable to allow these immigrants to come into our territory. What are the facts as far as the Douk-hobors are concerned ? I am told by those who reside in the neighbourhood of the Doukhobors that a Doukhobor's word is as good as his bond, that if he goes into a store and asks for credit promising to pay for his goods at a specified time in the future the merchant will give him the credit which he desires and he will meet his engagements on the very day that he promises to do so. I find on looking into their transactions that when they require any article for their use they buy, for instance, ploughs by the hundred, overalls by the thousand, and sugar by five carload lots, I find that notwithstanding their peculiar views and religion they are assimilating themselves very rapidly with our own peo-pel, and I believe that within a very short time they will be a very desirable class of settlers indeed. When we take the figures showing the number of settlers who have come in during the last year I do not think we have very much ground to fear as far
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
I don't know.
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
Well, I do know, and whether the hon. gentleman knows it or not, I know further that whenever the estimates come up for consideration, my hon. friend who interjects the remark, and others of his friends with him, have asked for increased expenditure.
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
I would like the hon. member to name a single item that I asked for.
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
It is not easy for me off hand to mention a particular item that the hon. gentleman has asked for, but I am within the judgment of this House in saying, that he as well as other members of the opposition have asked for increased expenditure when the estimates were under consideration. If he has not so asked, he is an exception on the other side of the House, and I accept his apology. Now, Mr. Speaker, we spent $500,009 more on lighthouse and ocean service, than was spent in 1896.
I suppose our friends on the other side will; admit that this money was not improperly spent. Indeed the Conservative press are contending now, in view of the lamentable ' accident which occurred the other day, that we should spend, more money on this service so as to improve our navigation system. We spent $100,000 more on the fisheries service, and about $500,000 more on immigration than we did in 1896, and lam sure my hon. friends opposite will not object to that expenditure. We spent $332,000 more on the customs service than we did in 1896, but against that we collected $17,170,000 more in customs revenue. We spent $8.000 more on excise service than we did in 1896, but our revenue from this source increased by $4,000,000. We spent on postal service for the benefit of the people of Canada $400,000 more than we did in 1896 but the revenue from our postal service has increased by nearly $1,500,000. Let me digress for a moment at this point. I wish to call attention to the exceptionally favourable condition of our postal service under the able administration of the present Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock). The business people of the country admit, and the people of Canada generally admits that we have at the present day the best postal service we ever had in the history of the Dominion. We not only have had a saving of one-third on our domestic postage, but we have had a saving of one-third on our foreign postage. I well remember when Sir William Mulock proposed to reduce the rate of postage, member after member on the Conservative side of the House got up in their places and predicted it would be necessary to put a special tax upon tea or upon sugar, in order to make up the deficit they thought would follow7 the reduction of the postal rate. They could hardly be blamed for this, in view7 of the fact under Conservative rule w7e had a deficit of $700,-
000 or $800,000 annually In the Post Office Department, notwithstanding that we also had a three cent rate of postage. To the credit of the present Postmaster General, be it said, that it was not only unnecessary to put a special tax upon any article of consumption, but that be has been able to give us increased facilities all over this Dominion, and in addition to that he has turned the old annual deficit of Conservative days, into a surplus. The people of this broad Dominion appreciate the fact that they are now reaping advantages and benefits in the post office service to which they were strangers before the Liberals came into power. It is true that the expenses of the Intercolonial Railway have increased over $5,000,000, but every dollar of that has come back to the people of this country.
Now Mr. Speaker, I have given a brielf review of the expenditure made by this government, and in conclusion permit me to say that the prosperous state of the country, as revealed through the budget speech, is sufficient to justify the warmest eulogy of this government. Some of our Conerva-, five friends say : that the government are entitled to no credit for the existing prosperity, but the member for South Wentworth (Mr. E. D. Smith) was frank enough to admit that government was responsible to a certain extent for prosperity or for depression. No less an authority than the Toronto ' Mail,' commenting on the budget speech delivered in 1882, said :
Instead of bringing the country to the brink of insolvency, the present government has caused evbry vein to quiver with healthy activity.
If that be true, what language could be more suitably applied to the present government ? What government ever in Canada before has caused every vein to pulsate with healthy activity ? Our friends on the other side of the House have endeavoured as far as they can, to minimize the credit that should accrue, and has accrued, to the government because of their wise administration of public affairs, but the people of Canada know better, and I have not the slightest doubt that they will pay their tribute of confidence in this Liberal government in the days to come. The prosperous state of the country, as revealed in the budget speech, must commend itself to both Liberals and Conservatives who look upon the question from an impartial standpoint. There are Conservatives who are willing to admit, that Canada now enjoys a higher state of prosperity than ever before ; there are Conservatives who are candid enough to say, at least in private conversation, that thisi government has been a good administration ; there are Conservatives who are frank enough to acknowledge that the administration of this government has been superior to that which preceded it. And, Sir, whether these Conservatives are will- I
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
ing to vote for the government or not, it makes no difference so long as in their heart of hearts they give the credit to this government for its wise acts of public policy. The good times have been shared in by all ; by the farmer, by the manufacturer, by the artisan, by the invester; and the record of the government as portrayed in the budget speech is one on which the government can confidently appeal for the approval of the country. I am satisfied, Mr. Speaker, that be the day near or be it far, when it shall be necessary to appeal to the electorate for the endorsation of the policy of this government, the far-seeing, hard headed, thoughtful electors of the Dominion, will show their appreciation of a governrfient whose policy has worked to the best interests of all classes of the community. We on this side of the House claim with pride, that this government is the best government Canada has ever known. We make that claim in view of the facts which have been disclosed ; we claim it in view of the record of the government which stands without parallel in the history of the world, and which record has been ably presented to the country by the Minister of Finance in his bud-.get speech.
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).
Mr. Speaker, the remarks of my hon. friend from West Huron (Mr. Holmes) are for the most part of a very general character, and I think they have already been pretty well answered by hon. gentlemen who have spoken. I do not propose to speak at any great length, and therefore my hon. friend (Mr. Holmes) will excuse me if I fail to follow him through all the phases of his eloquent speech.
Perhaps just a passing word might be given to the eloquent peroration with which he concluded. I do not quite remember whether he described this government as the best government this country ever possessed or the best government the world ever possessed-some hon. gentleman on that side of the House go that far occasionally. He claimed for it, that it had caused the veins of the country to pulsate with a splendid activity. Well, he was altogether too modest. Why did he not claim that it had caused the veins of the whole commercial world to pulsate with a splendid activity ? He has as much justification for the one contention as for the other. But I observe that my hon. friend, like a great many others who address the House on this question, fails absolutely on every occasiou to point to one single measure introduced and carried out by his administration to which the prosperity of this country is in any way due. That is the difficult aspect of the question from their standpoint. It is all very well to claim for Canada prosperity. We know we have it; we know also that we have had prosperity all through the
world ; and unless we can attribute the prosperity which prevails in Canada to some act of the present administration, are we not forced to agree with an hon. gentleman whose authority my hon. friend from West Huron will not dispute, the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), who said that the prosperity which Canada in common with the rest of the world has enjoyed during the past eight years is due to causes over which governments have no control whatever.
Having said so much, I shall now refer to the speech with which my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) introduced his budget. Although that speech contains some rather noteworthy statements, I may be permitted to draw attention to the fact that it was perhaps as remarkable for its omissions as for what.it actually contained. The hon. Minister of Finance, as was pointed out by my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Bell), made no estimate whatever of the revenue or the expenditure for the coming year. In that respect he departed from the course which he and all the other Ministers of Finance have followed on previous occasions. Not only did he make no reference to the revenue or the expenditure for the coming year, but he gave the House not the slightest explanation of that remarkable omission. Let me point to another omission in the speech of the hon. gentleman. One would have supposed that the Minister of Finance, speaking on a matter not only of political import, but of business importance to the whole country, would have been disposed to give to the people a fair and accurate statement of our affairs, and not to confine himself solely to those aspects of the business and the finances of the country which might be of use to his party in the distribution of campaign literature. The hon. gentleman went over a period of years with regard to our trade returns, but he made not one reference to the increase of taxation or the increase of expenditure. My hon friend dealt generally with the increase of trade in this country during the past eight years, but he made not one reference to a subject on which the hon. gentleman who sits beside him (Sir Bichard Cartwright) has dilated at great length in days gone by-the relative trade of this country with the United States as compared with its trade with Great Britain. Not one word out of the niouth of the Minister of Finance ; and stranger still, not one word out of the mouth of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who used to continually harp on that matter in days gone by. That indicates that these hon. gentlemen were not giving fair candid statements with reference to the business of this country, but were making campaign speeches for distribution throughout the country, and therefore saw fit to omit from their remarks every possible aspect of our
present conditions which might in any way call for criticism from gentlemen in this House or from business men throughout the country as a whole.
Now, it will be necessary for me to lay before the House some statements, which I will do very briefly, to remedy the omissions from the speech of the hon. Minister of Finance. Let me say, in the first place, that I do not object to a reasonable expenditure in this country. We could hot reasonably expect that from . 1896 to the present time there would not be some increase of expenditure in a rapidly-growing country such as this. The point we have taken in this House is that expenditure, especially on public works, should be conducted on some systematic basis, and should not be made the means of distributing favours to partisans, and should not be regulated solely by partisan considerations. We are glad to see money expended in this country, and we expect that our expenditure shall reasonably increase ; but let us bear in mind that we have been warned by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade and Commerce that matters shall not always be in this country as they are today. It was only a day or two ago that the Minister of Trade and Commerce uttered a last warning on that point-a warning which had been given to this country many times before by the Minister of Finance. That warning declared that just as surely as night follows day so periods of expansion and prosperity are followed by periods of depression, by lean years such as we have had in days gone by ; and what I have said in this House before, and what I say now, is, that if you fix a standard of expenditure upon an unduly high scale in the years of prosperity, you will find it very difficult indeed to reduce that scale to the proper standard when you come to the lean years of depression. Let me point out the record of the administration during the past years as compared with the five years of the late Conservative administration :
Subtopic: TO THE WHOLESALE TRADE.
1892 $ 42,272,136 1893 40,853,728 1894 43,009,234 1895 42,872,338 1896 41,702,383 1899 $ 51,542,635 1900 52,717,467 1901 57,982,866 1902 63,970,780 1903 61,746,572 $210,709,819 $287,960,320 In 1892 total expenditure by Conservatives $42,272,136 In 1896 total expenditure by Conservatives 41,702,383 Decrease (under Conservatives. .$ 569,753 In 1903 total expenditure by Liberals $61,746,572In 1899 total expenditure by Liberals 51,542,635Increase under Liberals $10,203,937 Let us look at the matter in another way : Total expenditure from 1899 to 1903.$287,960,320 Total expenditure from 1892 to 1896. 210,709,819
Average annnul expenditure during past 5 years $57,592,064 Average annual expenditure, 1892 to 1896 42,121,964 Average increased expenditure under Liberal government $15,470,100 Now, I do not for one moment say that some portion of this increase was not justified ; but let us compare what the Conservatives did during the period from 1878 to 1896 with what the Liberal administration now in power has done from 1896 to 1904 in the construction of great public works. Look at the deepening of the canals, the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the construction of great public works throughout the country under the Conservatives. Under the present administration the work of completing the canals has been carried on and there has been an extension of the Intercolonial Railway at some considerable cost; but no such great work has been undertaken during the past six years as that which was so bitterly opposed by lion, gentlemen opposite, the building of a great highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, binding together all the scattered provinces of Canada. Another matter which was brought to the attention of the House by my hon. friend from Pictou, and to which I will very briefly refer, is the increased taxation during the past six years. I shall give to the House a few comparative figures on that point, and X shall do this because in all sincerity I do not understand that any of the members of this administration, who claim that taxation was too high under Conservative government have ever been able to give any satisfactory reason why that taxation should be maintained at its present figure. The hon. gentleman who just sat down (Mr. Holmes) claimed as a great boon to the country that we are taking $14,000,000 or $15,000,000 out of the people every year beyond the actual necessities of government. Does not m? right hon. friend remember the declaration of the Minister of Trade and Commerce in days gone by ? It is well perhaps for the right hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce to sit in his seat and wear a sneering smile when his past utterances are brought back to him. I am sorry he is not here today, because I would like to put to him one or two questions. But he and other members of the administration will have to square themselves with the people some day on this point. The gentlemen who stated that taxation was too high in days gone by, that surpluses were an evil, that Mr. R. L. BORDEN. the exaction of one dollar from the people beyond the actual requirements of the government was highway robbery, cannot justify themselves to-day by sitting quietly in their seats, wearing a jaunty smile and drawing their salaries from month to month. That will not do. Let me point out what a comparative statement of the taxation shows, and then I will give you another table and will have the pleasure of quoting my hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. ' Paterson), who spoke for his party in days gone by, and I am sure there is no member of the administration-least of all the Prime Minister-who will for one moment dispute the authority of that hon. gentleman or deny that the principles which he then laid down are those to which regard should be had at present. In the first place let me point to a comparative statement of the total receipts from taxes under the Conservative and Liberal administrations. Under five years of Conservative administration the total receipts each year were as follows : 1892 $28,446,157 1893 29,321 367 1894 27,579,203 1895 25,446,199 1896 27,759,285